Usually when people think about a New York Democratic Congresswoman causing controversy, it’s Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez.
But while the freshman representative did stir the Twitter pot over her “death stares” and refusal to stand or applaud during most of the SOTU address, the Congresswoman who sat next to her took things to an even lower level on the social media platform a few hours later.
Conservative activist and high school junior CJ Pearson tweeted out a comment about Ocasio-Cortez and how “the woman sitting next to her” was “trying to look the other way” during the State of the Union.
.@AOC has been talking this entire speech and the woman next to her keeps trying to look the other way 😂😂.
— CJ Pearson (@thecjpearson) February 6, 2019
As it turns out “the woman sitting next to her” was Democrat Nydia Velazquez, who has represented New York’s 7th district since 2013 (she represented the 12th from 1993 to 2013).
Not only did Rep. Velazquez apparently not appreciate her name not being known, but she also told Pearson point blank that he was, “[R]ight to be afraid of us.”
But you should learn my name. https://t.co/frL8ikNDcV
— Nydia M Velázquez (@ReElectNydia) February 6, 2019
Um, hell no. I didn’t see her tweet until this morning, and was eager to weigh in once I did.
"You're right to be afraid" – who are you? The Gestapo? Get over yourself, honey. https://t.co/DUMGjzx1Vz
— Sister Toldjah 🤔 (@sistertoldjah) February 6, 2019
Other Twitter users were furious with the longtime Congresswoman’s response and let her know it:
Why is a congresswoman telling a high school student to be afraid? Are threats from politicians to minors cool, Twitter? Or just code related stuff is bad? https://t.co/jqcMfWqyrl
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) February 6, 2019
Why are you threatening a child.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 6, 2019
Perhaps you would like to clarify what, exactly, the young man should fear from his elected representatives?
— Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) February 6, 2019
Wow. You had an opportunity to introduce yourself in a diplomatic way. Instead you chose to let citizens know we should be afraid of you. Not to mention on a night when POTUS was calling for unity.. literally right in front of you. Who are the divisive ones again?? 🤔
— Allie Mass (@AllieMassengale) February 6, 2019
A “DoesFollow” search shows that Velazquez does not follow Pearson.
Pearson’s follower count is substantially higher than that of Velazquez’s, and he didn’t use any of the official SOTU hashtags in his tweet. So either she’s super-sensitive to criticism and searched out the tweet on her own (which would be on the creepy side) or maybe she saw it from a retweet through her main Twitter feed and responded that way.
Either way, the response was inappropriate. Full stop.
Under no circumstances should an elected official tell anyone that they should be “afraid” of them, regardless of whether or not the person they’re addressing is a constituent. The last time I checked, politicians are servants of the people, not the other way around, and they aren’t supposed to use their positions to bully voters into being fearful of them.
Though Velazquez is a veteran of the rough and tumble nature of New York politics, she still clearly has a lot to learn when it comes to handling criticism.
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